As a young aspiring pilot it was my dream to get trained at a school with high standards ,good facilities and of course a friendly environment. I was just 19 years old and it was a very difficult choice to make as there were a wide variety of schools and each school had it’s own advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, aircraft they had, facilities they offered and even countries they were situated in when it came to obtaining student visas.
Harv’s air was suggested to me by a friend of mine who had a friend working as an instructor there at the time .
I then visited their website and initially it seemed like any other school with a fleet of a few Cessna 152’s and 172’s and 2 twin engine airplanes. I then corresponded with Adam Penner, the manager of Harv’s air who was very friendly with me and very prompt in replying on time and I finally had an acceptance letter from Harv’s air within a few weeks.I then applied for a student visa which I was granted and I landed in Canada in June 2002 .At first, I really did not know what to expect as it was the first time my parents had sent me to a foreign country for flight training .
The next morning after my arrival at Harv’s, I got a chance to meet the staff and of course Harv Penner the founder of Harv’s air who had over 28000 hrs of flying experience and the rest of the Penner family that included Betty (Harv’s wife) and sons Greg and Luke Penner and what impressed me the most was the exceptionally friendly atmosphere at Harv’s air. I was then introduced to Adam Penner ,Harv’s eldest son who I had been corresponding with ,who showed me around the school which included the ground classes, aircraft mantainence hangar, fixed based simulator and debriefing rooms. All the facilities impressed me and it was at that point I knew I had made a good choice for my flight training.
As the months progressed, I went on to getting my private pilots license, commercial pilots license , multi engine rating ,instrument and finally a class 4 instructors rating. Throughout my training , I noticed that the instructors were supportive and professional, the aircrafts were really well maintained and there was never a day where there was a non availability of aircrafts or instructors. Added to this, Canada was by itself an amazing place for flight training as it had a vast expanse of airspace with very few restricted areas .It also had extreme variations in climatic conditions from hot summers to cold winters all of which helped me to gain exposure as a pilot.Harv’s air even had an added advantage as they were one of few schools with their own airstrip making it a lot more convenient in terms of cost and time as opposed to having to operate from a general aviation or international airport.
The combination of well maintained aircrafts, professional and supportive instructors, excellent ground training facilities and high training standards of Harv’s air indeed enabled me to become professional as a pilot which helped me with my type rating on the Airbus 320 when I got hired as a co pilot in 2005 for a company called Air Deccan which was India’s first low cost airline.
I am currently a captain on the Airbus 320 for a company called Indigo which as of today is the leading low cost airline in India and one of the fastest growing airlines in Asia with an order for over 150 Airbuses .I now have over 5100 hours of total time including 2000 hours of jet command experience on the Airbus 320.
Looking back 10 years from the day I started my flight training, I could only say that it was one decision of choosing a good school with high standard’s and excellent quality of training that enabled me to get to to this level and the credit goes to Harv’s air .
When I last visited Harv’s in 2011 , I learned that they had grown to more than double their fleet of 32 airplanes from 12 in 2002 , they had 2 bases and a lot more students many of whom had gone on to getting hired by the worlds airlines and it’s only a school that has a good reputation and an excellent quality of training has a potential to grow like Harv’s air.
I would again like to thank Harv’s Air and I wish them all the very best in the future
Captain Sandeep Cariappa
Airbus 320 captain -Indigo Airlines